FAT bike a more useful platform for winter commuting?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    FAT bike a more useful platform for winter commuting?

    Do the larger/wider tires have any more traction on icey roads?
    :)

  2. #2
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    Yes. Even more if you go with studded tires.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddslacker View Post
    Yes. Even more if you go with studded tires.
    Definitely if the roads are icy. For mixed roads where they are plowed and salted and ice is not everywhere, studs on pavement could be too slow.
    :)

  4. #4
    nvphatty
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    Its not a whole lot diff than your every day vehicle when it comes to ice, slick like snot and pretty much low on the traction scale. Studs for ice are a +.

  5. #5
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    I have noticed that when a fat front wheel washes out, it happens so slowly that I usually have to time to put the foot down or otherwise correct the situation before I hit the ice/snow/slush. With narrower (like, 2" tires) things seem to escalate much more quickly.

  6. #6
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    Does a fat tire have more grip on ice than regular mtb tire? Yes. Does it still suck? Yes.

    Where I live (Saskatchewan) studs are mandatory for winter commuting, we have more ice than snow. This is my third winter with a fatbike and it has NOT replaced my SS mtb as my go to winter commuter. A few reasons for this:
    - we only have a handful of deep/fresh snow days per year, if it's bad enough I will take my fat bike as the ice is buried deep.
    - winter riding is slow enough as it is, don't want to go even slower on 4.8" tires on busy urban streets
    - the good studded fat tires cost $300 each!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My studded Gazza's were $100.
    - I don't worry about my SS getting stolen, even though it is a nice bike, a Kona Explosif. I would worry, a lot, about my Moonlander getting lifted. I'd imagine fat bikes would be a prime target for thieves.
    - I like SS for when the roads are filthy, I'm a cheapskate and like that my SS only costs me $8 for a new chain and $25 for a new square taper BB after a tough winter. I like having gears on my fat bike.

  7. #7
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    This is my 3rd winter commuting fat. My area receives between 200-300 inches snow/yr. fat works well.. Only some ice so I have not run studs yet. I am so totally safer than the thin tire bike

  8. #8
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    Gotta get fenders if commuting fat or else you have one big skunk stripe.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  9. #9
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    Hate to be the dissenting opinion, but I have to disagree with a few of the early responses. My buddies and I have tested done a lot of experimenting with icy conditions and we found that on bare ice, the fat tires are actually worse than thin. I'm no physicist but it must come down to weight vs. surface area. When you spread the weight of the rider over a wide 4-5" tire you're not putting much pressure into the ice(there must be a term for this?).

    We had really icy conditions here in VT last year and one trail we ride regularly is loaded with ice floes that completely cover large sections of the trail if conditions are right. We tested my buddy's 29er against my fatbike and he fared far better on the 29er on glare ice. We rode some uneven ice and a bunch of long flat sections. On the flat sections you had to be incredibly smooth and gentle in the pedal stroke. Any pressure and the fat tire would spin right out. His 29er on 2.0 inch tires allowed him to pedal reasonably normally. We even switched bikes several times to make sure it wasn't the rider.

    Studs are the key to ice! I've since studded my fat tires-it takes a lot of studs! That's made all the difference and now I feel like I could ride through anything! They're good on everything but bare rock but I don't come across that surface much. I think the fatbike is an awesome winter commuter and in snow it rocks because of the flotation, traction and stability but on ice the fatbike is pretty compromised without studs. If I were commuting I'd buy a set of those 45 North studded Dillingers. They seem like they would roll decently and they would be far less expensive than studding the tires yourself ( if you use grip studs instead of screws)as I did.

    That's my experience. Hope it's helpful.

  10. #10
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    my favorite mountain road was covered with a sheet of ice last time I rode it. With studded fatbike tires, it was perfectly stable. I haven't ridden it with a 2.1" studded tire this year, but I remember a little more squirming and sliding. I was happy I bought the studs, to get to the snow, I have to go on ice most of the winter.

  11. #11
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    Fat and ice don't mix for me. I have a fat bike with non-studded tires, and a standard mountain bike with studded tires. When commuting in my area, it is rare that both float and spikes are required. I ride whichever bike is best suited to the conditions that day. Most of the time I can tell which is the better choice by the time I'm down the driveway. Ice has knocked me off my fatbike a few times. If the studs don't work in the deep snow when I'm on my mountain bike, then I'm walking....but at least I'm not bruised/broken from falling down.
    Jason
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  12. #12
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    Previous two years I've used an All-City Nature Boy w/Nokian Hakkapeliitta (700x38) studded tires to commute. This year I've got the Pug Ops on the Nates that came with it. I prefer the fat bike because it goes through the deeper snow better and I it's easier to maintain a line. Quite frankly, the Nokians only gave me a false sense of security which was violated many times. I agree with the bit about fenders.
    Remember, nobody knows. So let's find out...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by playinVT View Post
    Studs are the key to ice!
    +1 - I've bike commuted on just about every permeation of bike and tire. If you are dealing with more than the occasional patch of ice you want studded tires. Doesn't have to be fat - just studded.

    For my typical urban bike commutes and utility missions a normal MTB tire or studded tire worked just fine.

    Where my fatbike made a big difference is on unplowed roads and bikepaths. As well as bikepaths that had seen previous use where they had lots of ruts and bumps that were now really hard. With a skinny tire it was easy to get caught in the ruts and throw off line and the hard surface was quick a bumpy ride without fat tires.

    My last winter in Calgary I had 3 bikes I used:

    - 16" wheeled folding bike with 40mm slicks....did amazingly well for most days [50% of my rides]
    - Pugsley with 4" tires - great for snowstorms and exploring the city [35% of my rides]
    - 26" wheeled touring bike with studded tires for icy days...especially after a thaw followed by a re-freeze [15% of my rides]
    Safe riding,

    Vik
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  14. #14
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    Are we talking real ice or just packed snow? Because if its actual ice then nothing beats studded tires. But I've noticed people in SLC, Ut like to call the roads icey when its just packed snow. So if its just ice then any tire with studs will be better then a non studded fatbike. But if you are riding through snow then yes the fat bike tires will at least save you some time before your front tire puts you down.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    Do the larger/wider tires have any more traction on icey roads?
    Depends on conditions.
    In deep rutted snow on the roads a fat tire at low pressure provides great traction and stability.
    On hard packed ice or refreeze a studded 35mm tire will provide more traction than an unstudded fattire.
    On packed and rutted studded fat tires or atleast MTB tires are the only safe way to ride.
    So a studded fat tire will operate safely in the biggest variety of conditions but with the worst drag.
    A studded 700c commuter will be faster on pavement and work fine on smooth ice but is not good for much snow.
    A fat bit without studs is good for snowy roads or off-road conditions but I don't think it makes a good commuter for most winter road conditions.

    Around hear roads are cleaned quickly and most are salted heavily. So it is seldom I get a chance to ride with significant snow on the roads but ice can be a problem at times. So my commuter was a 700C with studded tires. Plus I did not want to expose my expensive fatbike to the corrsive salt environment without an easy way to clean it after every ride.

    Craig

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    Do the larger/wider tires have any more traction on icey roads?
    No. The biggest reason being that the currently available studded snows for MTBs (currently riding the Schwalber Ice Spikers) are much more agressive and effective on ice than the fatbike Dillingers. There are more studs, bigger studs, and if there is a bit of snow on top you are more likely to get the studs to bite down to the ice layer. Yes, Dillingers are a big help on ice over non-studded tires, but not near the capability of the studded MTB tires in my experience (4th year winter commuting and 3rd winter fatbiking).

  17. #17
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    For me, I think a fatbike gives you a wider range/types of snow you can ride in. On my commute I take what is a gravel path in the summer or packed and fluffy snow in the winter. That is half the ride and the other half is pavement. Usually plowed but on occasion I am out before the snow plow, it's no problem. Yes, it's slower on the pavement but I don't plan on winning the morning race. I have a blast down the snow covered path. That makes my commute every morning. Ice is rarely an issue for me in Calgary, at least on my route to work and back. But on those days where it blizzards during work hours, I am glad I have my fatty so I am not walking up the hill.

    A fatty makes sense for me but I can see why it might not work for everyone.

  18. #18
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    "when a fat front wheel washes out, it happens so slowly that I usually have to time to put the foot down or otherwise correct the situation before I hit the ice/snow/slush"...I'm not disagreeing with you...many times i've found the handlebar 90deg to my direction of travel and it is usually saveable...however there are a couple times I have found myself and my unstudded fatty suddenly levitating, about two feet off the ice, paralell with the ground...only to have her spike us like a football after scoring the winning TD, ending overtime in the Superbowl...ouch...
    edit-really looking forward to rolling my new 45N Dillingers this weekend
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  19. #19
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    I have had the superbowl spike horizontal smack down with my fat on ice, not again. Studs for ice, ice spikers on snow cat rims,, freddies on large marge if you feel the need to run the fat.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by morkys View Post
    Do the larger/wider tires have any more traction on icey roads?
    Yep, especially at low pressure. I find that studs aren't necessary here in AK for commuting, although "nice to have" at times and there are a few re-routes I may take if it's icy, but all in all it doesn't affect me much and unless I do something dumba$$ (like try to turn fast on ice) it's really not an issue and I don't need studs.

    They wouldn't hurt though and they would be nice for some of the trails.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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